Beach Safety

Choose a beach with a lifeguard service and swim between the red and yellow flags. Look for safety information and warning signs.

To stay safe, remember FLAGS whenever you are at the beach:

  • Find the red and yellow flags and swim between them.
  • Look at the safety signs.
  • Ask a lifeguard for advice
  • Get a friend to swim with you
  • Stick your hand up and shout for help if in difficulties

Choose a beach with a lifeguard service and swim between the red and yellow flags. Look for safety information and warning signs. Red and yellow – Lifeguards on Patrol, two flags at the waters edge denote the patrolled bathing area. Red – dangerous to bathe or swim. Do not go in the water. Black/white – Black and white quartered flag shows the zone for water sports activities, swimmers and bathers should avoid this are

Do not swim alone. Children should always be with an adult. Don’t swim alone. Constant supervision is the only real means of ensuring your child’s safety.Where to get help. If you see someone in difficulty in the water, shout for help, tell the lifeguards. Go to the nearest phone and call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

Join a Surf Life Saving Club and learn lifesaving and rescue skills.

Find your local club


Beach Lifeguarding

SLSGB is the main provider of volunteer beach lifeguarding in Cornwall. For over fifty years SLSGB has worked to implement national standards and to provide guidance to the beach operator, the Surf Life Saving clubs have done an excellent job although difficult with a lack of funding.

The formation of the clubs has often been in response to a local tragedy, similar to the establishment of lifeboat stations. With the increase in tourism over the years there has been a gradual shift from voluntary lifeguard cover to lifeguards paid by local authorities. As there is no statutory requirement to provide a lifeguard service, the level of funding from a local authority is often minimal with lack of national coordination.

This led to the RNLI setting up a pilot Beach Rescue Service in 2000 and RNLI Beach Lifeguards were launched in 2001 to cover 26 beaches in the south and south west of England. The service now covers over 80 beaches in Cornwall with volunteer lifeguards from the Surf Life Saving clubs providing additional cover on busy weekends and during holidays.

It is essential that the lifeguards receive the best training possible and this is done in partnership with the SLSGB, building upon the existing award scheme. The RNLI is committed to maintaining its volunteer ethos through encouraging the continual development of volunteer lifesaving clubs, by working with the SLSGB the RNLI is helping to develop a high quality lifeguard service that will save lives for years to come. The clubs provide training for all the beach lifeguard awards so that they can, in turn, provide qualified lifeguards to patrol or work with the RNLI.